Kansas City Royals all-time top 50 players: No. 10 to No. 1

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KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 14: Former Kansas City Royals George Brett throws out the first pitch prior to Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium on October 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 14: Former Kansas City Royals George Brett throws out the first pitch prior to Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium on October 14, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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1989: Bret Saberhagen of the Kansas City Royals winds back to pitch during a MLB game in the 1989 season. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
1989: Bret Saberhagen of the Kansas City Royals winds back to pitch during a MLB game in the 1989 season. (Photo by: Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /

No. 3) Amos Otis, outfielder, 1970-83

Just like in 2015, the Mets’ loss was the Royals’ gain when it came to Amos Otis.

According to Rob Neyer in his book, “The Big Book of Baseball Blunders,” after many clashes with Mets manager Gil Hodges, Otis was dumped to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for a low-level prospect. Not a bad trade to land one of the best outfielders in franchise history. All Otis did after that was play 14 seasons in center field, hitting .277/.343/.425 and stealing 341 bases, including 52 in 1971 to lead the American League. He was a five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner in center field, receiving MVP votes in five different seasons.

Otis really shined in the postseason, particularly in the 1980 World Series when he hit .478 with three home runs. He had at least two hits and at least one RBI in each of the first five games of that series.

No. 2) Bret Saberhagen, starting pitcher, 1984-91

Unlike many of the others in this countdown, Bret Saberhagen wasn’t a high draft pick, as a 19th-round selection there were 479 players chosen before him. Very few of those 479 players had the same impact on their teams that Saberhagen did for the Kansas City Royals.

He is the most prolific starting pitcher in team history, winning the Cy Young Award in both 1985 and 1989. They are arguably the two best pitching seasons in franchise history. In the latter season, he won 23 games, pitched 12 complete games and finished with a 2.16 ERA. In only eight seasons with the Royals, Saberhagen won 110 games and threw a complete game in nearly 30 percent of his starts. He also threw 14 complete-game shutouts.

Saberhagen is also responsible for the last Royals no-hitter, thrown on Aug. 26, 1991. It was a 7-0, 114-pitch shutout of the Chicago White Sox at Royals Stadium.

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